Layered Ratatouille

Don’t be afraid to get creative with the presentation of this classic French dish. Featuring purple, red and green veggies, even adults can’t resist experimenting with creative designs when arranging these gorgeous gourds. So pop Ratatouille into your DVD player and encourage your chefs-in-training to play with their food! This recipe comes to us from Amy Babrick, The Gourmand Mom.

 Preheat an oven to 450 degrees. Place the seeded red and orange pepper halves on a baking sheet, transfer to the oven and roast for about 15 minutes, or until soft.

Together:  Transfer the roasted bell peppers to a zip lock bag, seal and let cool for at least 20 minutes. When the peppers are cool enough to handle, slide their skin off using your fingers. Chop the roasted, peeled peppers into small pieces and lower the oven to 275 degrees.

> Place the olive oil into a sauté pan over medium-high heat. Cook the diced onion for 3-5 minutes, or until softened. Add the minced garlic and thyme and cook for 2 more minutes, or until the garlic begins to become fragrant. Add the roasted pepper pieces to the pan, stir and cook for 2 minutes more, or until the flavors are incorporated.

 Carefully transfer the piperade from the frying pan to a baking dish. Use a spatula to spread the piperade into an even layer, taking care to cover the bottom of the baking dish. Arrange the sliced zucchini, eggplant and tomatoes over the piperade into a colorful design.

Together:  Whisk the olive oil, garlic, thyme leaves and salt and pepper to taste together in a small bowl. Drizzle the olive oil garlic thyme mixture over the zucchini, eggplant and tomatoes.

 Cover with foil and bake for 2 hours. Remove the foil and cook 30 minutes more, or until the veggies are cooked through and slightly browned on the edges. Enjoy!

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